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Don't read this if you're drunk

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We've all seen the excruciatingly painful drink driving adverts on TV, or the ones where the girl leaves her house with a face covered in vomit, wrecked hair, and ripped up clothes: followed by the tagline 'you wouldn't start a night like this, so why end it that way?' 'Know your limits.'

The direct.gov adverts generally provide the audience with a very negative connotation of alcohol, but they still don't seem to be getting that ever increasingly important message across.

The binging nation that we are: just doesn't listen. We're like Holland and their clogs', the German and French with their bodily hair and Americans with their fast food, we can't let it go because alcohol has become part of our culture: and that's a pretty frightening thought.

After speaking to several students about the issue; it seems the opinions are varied. A second year University of Portsmouth student said: 'I'd argue its more of a British cultural problem itself, not a student only problem. Of course everyone likes a drink now and then and people do go overboard occasionally, but I wouldn't say I've noticed a massive amount of difference between the number of binge drinkers on a student night out compared to a Saturday night out before I went to uni.

Basically, yeah there is probably a problem with binge drinking in student culture, but arguably it's just a sub-bracket to British culture itself.'

Likewise a Nottingham Trent Business studies student says: 'The UK has an appalling drinking culture! I think it's generally more of a chav thing though! I mean seriously so many people don't even know or care about what they drink. More people should drink wine and have drinks to compliment food rather then get smashed!'

It was reassuring throughout my research after speaking to students that many of them acknowledge that there is in fact a wide-spread problem throughout the country of binge drinking.

Focusing on students though: can we really blame our continuous ways of drinking on the rest of the nation? Or are we at an age, with enough brainpower to choose for ourselves how to live our lives? If we know alcohol has subsequent damaging side effects, why do we indulge in so much of it?

An interesting point was posed by a third year student from UWE (University of the West East- Bristol). 'People will often drink to excess, but there are people out there who enjoy alcohol for reasons beside its physical/mental influence. Namely, taste! I think people easily forget this and will proudly declare "I don't drink because I don't like to be out of control.'

Taste is obviously a factor that entices many people into drinking more, similarly with smoking: people know its unhealthy, but they like the activity. Does that not make the act of drinking even more dangerous? Not only does it come with the mental unstable thrill of being invincible, along with cheap prices and enticing promotions (student clubs particularly) but it tastes good too? Why would anyone ever stop?

After all the blame is passed to the country itself, or to our grown up relatives who brought us into the world surrounded by alcohol, we come to the 'ignorance is bliss' opinion.

'I don't think there is a binge drinking problem within students, as long as they know when to limit themselves and when to stop. I know people who have a few drinks, and when they start to feel drunk or ill they stop.' (Second year computing student- Southampton Solent.)

An inspiring statement to make, but slightly lacking factual evidence. Do we actually know when to stop? Taking Portsmouth University as an example here: in the last month over elections period, one student was taken to A & E with a broken foot dressed as a duck with a huge afro as part of his 'vote for afro Andy' campaign, after over-indulging. Two other students arrived in A & E on separate nights with black eyes and broken noses after getting into fights on the way back from clubs: highly intoxicated.

Let's ask again; do we know when to stop? When there are hospitals involved, it would appear not.

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